Watching Mom deteriorate


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Just popping in
From: New Jersey
Posts: 2
Today I am near tears. Mom is expecting us to come visit today and take her out of "Assisted Living" for a few hours & dinner out-She is physically disabled since her stroke 5 years ago and is now 86. Her mind is deteriorating too and I find her expectations of us visiting every Sunday is getting me down. We take turns with brother & sister in law but they have been away for 3 week ends and she doesn't call them during the week asking us to "get" things for her. I am the only daughter and this is beginning to affect my life with my husband. Our children are grown & we should be free to enjoy our time together. How can I get over this feeling of "We HAVE to do this every week"? There is no one else to set up her meds for the week but my brother & I. Her "Assisted Living" care is already costing a fortune without additional services added (she complains all the time of lack of attention there)I am having trouble balancing concern for her welfare and accepting that she is not necessarily competent as whe once was.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: natalie39 on 2001-09-09 08:12 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: natalie39 on 2001-09-09 08:17 ]</font>

Posted on 2001/9/9 8:11


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Quite a regular
From: Rowlett
Posts: 56
Dear Natalie,
I can understand why you feel that you are “near tears!” It sounds as though the issues revolving around being the primary caregiver, your mother’s expectations of Sunday visits, setting up her meds, and having time for yourself and your husband, are taking their toll on your well-being right now . . . and, understandably so! Although there is never an easy way through tough family and personal issues like these, there are a couple of thoughts that I’d like to offer:

Unfortunately, it is usually the “daughter” who becomes the expected person to take over the caregiving role. You mentioned that your mother usually calls you first to get things for her. Can you talk with your brother about this? Do you think that taking turns with mother’s calls - regardless of the fact that she calls you first, would help? Can your brother take every other week being “on call?” Some caregivers have dealt with situations similar to yours by using an answering machine. Then, after the message is left, they decide how to follow-up with the call . . . About the “lack of attention” your mother says that she is receiving - is this true or is this because she wants more attention and visits from you and your brother? Frequent phone calls may be related to this - or - if she is really not getting adequate care, perhaps these issues can be addressed with the facility’s administrator and at the same time, maybe check into how much it would cost to have her medications given to her by the staff . . . the cost may balance out with your decreased stress level . . . If your mother is at a facility where the costs are very high and the care is not equitably balanced, perhaps consider moving her to a facility that can better meet her needs. (This is another issue in and of itself, however!)

So important, too, is your feeling of “balancing” concerns for your mother’s welfare, coping with her general decline in health of mind and body, and the stress relating to these issues. These are difficult feelings to cope with, oftentimes dealing with so many different aspects of your relationship with your mother and loss. Caregivers often experience “burnout” because of the stress related to caregiving . . . please take a look at our “Burnout" page for some possible ways of getting through this time without sacrificing your health or your relationship with your husband. I know that all the suggestions and advice in the world can sound “easier said than done.” However, you have to take care of yourself first, Natalie. Otherwise, you won’t have any reserves to give to anyone else. Try to be realistic about what you can and can’t do and respect your boundaries about what you will do. One of the most common feelings that caregivers experience is guilt - frustration and anger are often mixed in here too - just try to remind yourself that you can only do what you can, that you have to take time out for yourself, and that you will need and deserve the help of others. A couple of final thoughts: Is there a caregiver support group from the facility or in your area? It can really help sometimes to be able to share some of these feelings and know that you are not alone with them. . . Also, does the facility have any volunteers who visit? Could you get some of these people (or others) to visit your mother, thereby reducing her reliance on you? Please keep in touch . . . I hope that something in this reply will help you in some small way. Most especially, take care! Barb

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: 4Hope on 2001-09-09 09:38 ]</font>

Posted on 2001/9/9 9:34

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